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Guru Teg Bahadur

Guru Tegh Bahadur
Born Tyag Mal
April 1, 1621 (1621-04)
Amritsar, India
Died November 24, 1675 (1675-11-25) (aged 54)
Delhi, India
Other names The Shield of India, Mighty of the Sword, The Ninth Master, The True King
Years active 1665–1675
Known for Martyrdom for protecting the Sikh faith
Predecessor Guru Har Krishan
Successor Guru Gobind Singh
Spouse(s) Mata Gujri
Children Guru Gobind Singh
Parents Guru Hargobind, Nanaki

Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਗ਼ ਬਹਾਦੁਰ [ɡʊru teɣ bəhɑdʊɾ]; 1 April 1621 – 11 November 1675) became the 9th Guru of Sikhs on 20 March 1665, following in the footsteps of his grand-nephew, Guru Har Krishan. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.[1]

Early life

Tegh Bahadur was the youngest of the five sons of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh guru, and his wife Nanaki. He was born as Tyaga Mal in Amritsar in the early hours of 1 April 1621. The name Tegh Bahadur (Mighty Of The Sword), was given to him by Hargobind after he had shown his valour in a battle against the Mughals.

Amritsar at that time was the centre of Sikh faith. Under Hargobind, it had become even more renowned. By virtue of being the seat of the Guru, and with its connection to Sikhs in far flung areas of the country through the chains of Masands or missionaries, it had developed the characteristics of a state capital.

Tegh Bahadur was brought up steeped in Sikh culture. He was trained in the martial-arts of archery and horsemanship, and was also taught the old classics. Prolonged spells of seclusion and contemplation are said to have given him a deep mystical temperament. Tegh Bahadur was married on 3 February 1631, to Mata Gujri.

Stay at Bakala

In the 1640s, nearing his end, Guru Hargobind said to his wife Nanaki, to move to his ancestral village of Bakala, together with Tegh Bahadur and Gujri.

Bakala, as described in Gurbilas Dasvin Patishahi, was then a properous town with many beautiful pools, wells and baolis. Tegh Bahadur meditated at Bakala for about twenty years (1644-1664) and lived there with his wife and mother. He lived a strict and holy life and spent most of his time in meditation. Yet, he was not a recluse and attended to family responsibilities. He went out riding and he followed the chase. He made visits outside Bakala and also visited the eighth Sikh guru Guru Har Krishan, when the latter was in Delhi.

As the ninth Sikh guru

During his stay in Delhi, Guru Har Krishan was seized with smallpox. When asked by his followers as to who would lead them after him, he replied Baba Bakale, meaning his successor was to be found in Bakala.

Some pretenders took advantage of the ambiguity in the words of the dying Guru and installed themselves as the Guru of Sikhs. There were about 22 pretenders who called themselves as the ninth Sikh guru. The most influential of them was the nephew of Tegh Bahadur, Dhir Mall. The Sikhs were puzzled to see so many claimants and could not make out who the real Guru was.

A wealthy trader Baba Makhan Shah Labana arrived in search of the Guru. He went from one claimant to the next making his obeisance and offering two gold coins to each Guru, while before he had promised to offer 500 coins for his safety in a storm. Then he discovered that Tegh Bahadur, who made no claims about himself, also lived at Bakala.

Makhan Shah Labana went straight to the house of Tegh Bahadur. There he made the usual offering of two gold coins. Tegh Bahadur gave him his blessings and remarked that his offering was considerably short of the promised five hundred. Makhan Shah forthwith made good the difference and ran upstairs. He began shouting from the rooftop:

The responsibility of instructing and guiding the Sikh community was now of Tegh Bahadur. He was the focal point of veneration of the Sikhs. They came singly and in batches to seek spiritual solace and inspiration. And by his teachings and practise, he moulded their religious and social conscience.

As had been the custom since Har Gobind, Tegh Bahadur kept a splendid lifestyle. He had his armed attendance and other marks of royalty. But he himself lived austerely. Sikh or other documents make no mention of any clash with the ruling power having occurred during his time.

Tegh Bahadur travelled in different parts of the country, including Dhaka and Assam, to preach the teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru. His son Guru Gobind Singh, who would be the tenth Sikh guru, was born in Patna, while he was away in Dhubri, Assam, where stands the Gurdwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib.

The Guru made three successive visits to Kiratpur. On 21 August 1664, Tegh Bahadur went there to console with Bibi Rup Kaur upon the death of her father, Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh guru, and of her brother, Har Krishan. The second visit was on 15 October 1664, at the death on 29 September 1664, of Bassi, the mother of Har Rai. A third visit concluded a fairly extensive journey through Majha, Malwa and Bangar districts of the Punjab. Crossing the Beas and Sutlej rivers, Tegh Bahadur arrived in the Malwa. He visited Zira and Moga and reached Darauli. He then sojourned in the Lakhi Jungle, a desolate and sandy tract comprising mainly present-day districts of Bhatinda and Faridkot. According to the Guru kian Sakhian, Baisakhi of 1665 was celebrated at Sabo-ki Talwandi, now known as Damdama Sahib. This journey took Tegh Bahadur up to Dhamdhan, near Jind, from where he returned to Kiratpur. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The Guru bought the site on payment of Rs 500. The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Tegh Bahadur raised a new city.

Execution

The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb cherished the ambition of converting India into an Islamic country.


A minority of the conversions in Kashmir happened peacefully. Yet, the Emperor's experiment was carried out in Kashmir. The viceroy of Kashmir, Iftikhar Khan (1671–1675) carried out the policy vigorously and set about converting non-Muslims by force.[2][3]

A group of Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindu Brahmins), approached Tegh Bahadur for help. They, on the advice of the Guru, told the Mughal authorities that they would willingly embrace Islam if Tegh Bahadur did the same.[2][3]

Orders of the arrest of the Guru were issued by Aurangzeb, who was in the present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan subduing Pushtun rebellion. The Guru was arrested at a place called Malikhpur near Anandpur after he had departed from Anandpur for Delhi. Before departing he nominated his son, Gobind Rai (Guru Gobind Singh) as the next Sikh Guru.

He was arrested, along with some of his followers, Bhai Dayala, Bhai Mati Das and Bhai Sati Das by Nur Muhammad Khan of the Rupnagar police post at the village Malikhpur Rangharan, in Ghanaula Parganah, and sent to Sirhind the following day. The Faujdar (Governor) of Sirhind, Dilawar Khan, ordered him to be detained in Bassi Pathana and reported the news to Delhi. His arrest was made in July 1675 and he was kept in custody for over three months. He was then kept in an iron cage and taken to Delhi in November 1675.

The Guru was put in chains and ordered to be tortured until he would accept Islam. When he could not be persuaded to abandon his faith to save himself from persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. Refusing to do so, Tegh Bahadur was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675. The Guru is also known as "Hind Di Chadar" i.e. "The Shield of India", suggesting that he gave up his life to protect the religious freedom of non Muslims in Mughal India. .

Notable events

Guru Har Gobind Ji was Guru Tegh Bahadur's father. He was originally named Tyag Mal(Punjabi: ਤਿਆਗ ਮਲ) but was later renamed Tegh Bahadur after his gallant displays of sword fighting in the wars against the Mughal forces. He built the city of Anandpur Sahib, and was responsible for saving the Kashmiri Pandits, who were being persecuted by the Mughals. Guru Tegh Bahadur toured various parts of India, and was requested by Gobind Sahali to construct several domes in Mahali.

He contributed many hymns to the Guru Granth Sahib including the Saloks, or couplets near the end of the Guru Granth Sahib, which are extremely popular.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred in Delhi by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, was built over where the Guru was beheaded, and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, also in Delhi, is built on the site of the residence of Lakhi Shah Vanjara, a disciple of the Guru, who burnt his house in order to cremate the Guru's body. Another gurudwara by the same name, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib at Ambala City where that man halt for a Night with Shri Guru Teg Bahdur's head after that he went for Anandpur Sahib in Punjab where is another Gurudwara by the name of Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib, marks the site where in November 1675, the head of the martyred Guru Teg Bahadur which was brought by Bhai Jaita (Rechristened Bhai Jivan Singh according to Sikh rites) in defiance of the Mughal authorities was cremated here.

Criticism of execution

Mughal accounts of the Guru Tegh Bahadur's execution

Tegh Bahadur was given the title Bahadur by his father Guru Hargobind (sixth Guru of the Sikhs) as he displayed such bravery with the sword in battle. Later upon return to eastern Punjab, he settled at Anandpur, where his followers began to refer to him as the Sacha Badshah (True King). Mughal officials such as Nur Muhammad Khan of Rupnagar, Dilawar Khan the Faujdar of Sirhind and Wazir Khan had him arrested. He was taken to Delhi and put to death by Aurangzeb in 1675. However, when Aurangzeb was questioned by a group of Qadis regarding the reasons for the execution, the Mughal Emperor could not clearly explain the causes for the order of the penalty.[4]

It was recognised that Guru Tegh Bahadur gave his life for freedom of religion, ensuring that Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists were able to follow and practice their beliefs without hindrance. Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed for political reasons, along with fellow devotees Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dayalaa.

Places named after Guru Teg Bahadur

A number of places are named after the ninth guru of Sikhs, Guru Teg Bahadur ji.

Notes

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur; Commemorative Volume. Editor: Satbir Singh. Publisher: Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Tercentenary Martyrdom Gurpurab Committee. Govt. of India.1975
  • Gokalchand Narang; Transformation of Sikhism
  • Puran Singh; The book of Ten Masters
  • N.K Sinha; Rise of Sikh Panth
  • Teja Singh Ganda Singh; A Short History of the Sikhs.

References

External links

  • Read more about Bachitra Natak
  • Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib
  • AllAboutSikhs.com
  • Video - Teg Bahadur Simriey
  • Video on YouTube on Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji
  • The Ninth Master
Preceded by:
Guru Har Krishan
(7 July 1656 – 30 March 1664)
Guru Tegh Bahadur Followed by:
Guru Gobind Singh
(22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708)

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